Huckleberry Spring, book 4 in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series, is on sale on Kindle and other ebook formats ( B&N) for only 99 cents through the end of April. That’s a lot less than a cup of kaffee and will provide you many more hours of enjoyment.
In Huckleberry Spring, Amish mammi and matchmaker extraordinaire Anna Helmuth has a problem. Her grandson Ben broke off his engagement to Emma Nelson and moved to Florida. Most mammis would decide Ben was long gone and give up hope. Not Anna. She knows deep in her heart that Ben and Emma belong with each other, and she’ll do whatever it takes to bring Ben and Emma together again on Huckleberry Hill.
Surely Ben will come to Huckleberry Hill if he thinks his Dawdi Felty needs help on the farm. But what will coax Emma to Huckleberry Hill? Emma, prone to get herself into trouble with her clumsiness, has a wonderful-gute green thumb. She knows how to grow giant pumpkins. Anna asks Emma to help her grow the biggest pumpkin yet. That should get Ben’s ex-fiancee up the hill.
Once Anna’s plan is set in motion, Anna realizes that she is going to have an awful lot of pumpkin to cook come autumn time. So Anna is on the lookout for the perfect pumpkin recipe.
Ben jogged to the house where Dawdi sat in his usual place reading the paper, and Mammi busily prepared dinner. Ben didn’t even want to guess what kind of smell wafted from her bubbling pot.
“Ben,” Mammi said, without looking up, “will you make sure Emma knows she is invited for dinner. I’ve decided that I need to learn how to cook pumpkin if we’re going to have a giant pumpkin come autumn time. I’m trying out my first recipe today.”
“What is it, Mammi? It smells delicious.” He knew it was a sin to lie, but Mammi always got so enthusiastic about her cooking. He couldn’t hurt her feelings.
“I call it Chunky Pumpkin soup. It was supposed to be just pumpkin soup, but I can’t make the lumps disappear, so I’ve renamed it.”
One thing you need to know about Anna Helmuth is that while she is an enthusiastic cook, she’s also pretty bad at it. She loves to make up recipes like green Jell-O with carrots and hotdogs or potato-lentil-and-green-bean cheese soup. What they lack in flavor, they make up for in creativity.
I’m not anywhere near as bad a cook as Anna Helmuth, but I have had my share of issues with following a recipe. The flaming-hot meatball story in Huckleberry Hill comes straight from my own personal experience. That disastrous dish was what gave me the idea to make Anna a bad cook in my books.
This is in no way a reflection on most Amish cooks. Amish cooking is down-home, stick-to-your-ribs kind of cooking. Even their food evokes memories of simpler times when families would sit down together for the evening meal, without television, cell phones, or the Internet.
In Anna’s honor, here is a recipe for pumpkin soup. It is absolutely delicious and so easy that even I can make it with success. I hope it warms you up on one of these cool spring nights.
Pumpkin Soup with Beans
1 15-oz. can pumpkin
1 14-oz. can of unsweetened coconut milk (you can use low fat, if you like)
1 15-oz. can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 14-oz. can of vegetable broth
1 tsp. dried leaf sage, crushed (Be sure to crush it fine or the big pieces float to the top—personal experience)
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh lime slices and cracked black peppercorns—only if you want to use them
In a medium saucepan combine pumpkin, coconut milk, beans, broth, and sage. Heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with lime juice and sprinkle with black peppercorns (again, if you want).
Pretty easy, huh? Have a wonderful April, and may all your soups be only as chunky as you want them to be.
Jennifer Beckstrand is the award winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014. Visit JenniferBeckstrand.com for recipes, upcoming events, and news about books and giveaways.